If you have hair like mine, it’s dead straight all the time. Sometimes that’s great! In these summer months, I don’t have to deal with frizz like some friends do. But nine times out of ten I wish that my hair had something a bit more interesting going on. That’s why I’m always on the hunt for tips and tricks to try new hairstyles.​​​

Right now I’m sporting a chopped look, but a year ago I had pretty long hair. I love my hair curly – so much so that I’ve almost gotten a perm a few times! Every time I went to see my stylist, she would curl my hair with a straightener. But when I tried it myself, I never got the same results! I gave up and reached for the curling iron, but the look was never the same. So now I’m here to give you tips and tricks to get those salon style flat iron curls!

the straight-haired girl's guide to perfect flat iron curls

Assemble Your Toolkit

Part of getting perfect curls is making sure you have the right tools. The first thing you need to grab, of course, is a flat iron or straightener.There are so many different flat irons out there!​​​ I was genuinely shocked when I started looking into this. The big piece of advice here is that you do want a flat iron, not just a run of the mill straightener. A flat iron is generally thinner than a straightener, which is why it works to curl your hair, too!

After you pick your flat iron (or grab the one you already have!), invest in some heat protectant. Any time you apply heat to your hair, you’re doing minor damage. You want your hair to be healthy for years and years, so take good care of it! Really a protectant is a good idea even if you’re just blow drying regularly. When you’re applying heat as directly as a flat iron does, it’s almost a must. You can pick some up at whichever store you go to for hair supplies. Look for “flat iron spray” or “thermal heat shield” on the bottle.

In addition to your protectant spray, grab a bottle of hairspray. This isn’t a must, but for a lot of straight haired girls, you’ll want to seal in the curl! I know when I curl my hair I spray section by section because otherwise it’s flattened again by the time I’m done. Make sure you also have a brush nearby. Once you’ve got all of that in hand, you’re good to go!

the straight-haired girls guide to perfect flat iron curls

Create Your Curls

The piece of advice that resonated with me the most when I was figuring this out is so simple. You’re curling your hair with the flat iron just like you would curl a ribbon with scissors. Admittedly, it’s a little harder when you’re working on your own head instead of looking at something in your hands. But the principle of the thing is the same! Here’s our step-by-step guide to creating perfect curls.

  • Spray on that protectant. You can do it strand by strand or spray your whole head at once. Personally, I’m a fan of spraying the strand you’re about to flat iron right before the heat hits it. Just be sure to keep your hair safe!
  • Twist and pull. Clamp the flat iron around a strand of hair however high up you want the curl to start. The key here is to create tension. Pull the hair around the flat iron (like the ribbon around the scissor’s blade!) and move the flat iron toward the end of the strand. Keep in mind: twist the hair, pull the flat iron.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat! With as many strands as you want! If you want a heavy head of curls, pin up the top layers first. If you’re going for a wavy look, try just curling the top layer or two. Remember, the hair close to your face should twist toward the back of your head. It’s much more flattering, I promise!
  • Brush out your hair. This will help the curls to relax so you don’t have a ringlet deal going on. I was always a fan of finger combing, but you can use a gentle brush if you want. Just make sure you don’t use a fine tooth comb! You’ll take way too much curl out of your hair.
  • Lock the look. Spray on that hairspray, fix any last bits, and you’re on your way!

Tips for the Perfect Curl

My first tip is simple: be patient with yourself! There is a learning curve to curling with a flat iron. It probably won’t look the way you want it to the first time. Look up a video​​​, practice when you have nowhere to go, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself if you fail! I certainly did not succeed the first try – I had awkward half curls and a crease in my hair. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Second: figure out what look works for you. You might not have the same hair type  as that model you’ve been admiring, so your curls won’t look exactly the same as hers do. Never fear, there’s a look out there that you will rock like no one else can.

Finally: wear it with confidence! I promise that if you own it and flaunt it, everyone will say it’s a win. If you think you look good, then go out and strut your stuff and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

the straight-haired girls guide to perfect flat iron curls


There are so many ways out there to curl your hair. This one is very on trend, so maybe it’s the way for you! Give it a few tries and see how things turn out, then come back and let us know in the comments how your curls turned out. If you’re feeling especially good about your look, drop a pic so that we can see just how perfectly your perfect curls turned out. Any other advice for the woman trying flat iron curls for the first time? Think you’ve got it down? Hit us with that, too!